The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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Cedar Crestone HCM Survey 2006

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Cedar recently released their 2006 HCM survey with some interesting results and interpretations. I’m not going to regurgitate their findings, but here are a few items I though worth thinking about.

  • Five applications cause operating income growth among publicly traded respondent organizations (manager self service, career development, workforce measurement, talent acquisition, and performance management solutions).   ((Cedar Creston 2006 HCM Survey, 9th Edition. Page 8. Retrived from on November 13, 2006.))

I found it interesting that Cedar decided to use the phrasing “cause operating income growth.” Certainly MSS, measurement, career development talent and performance solutions will all save some money, drive efficiencies and probably improve operating income growth in downstream activities, but I’m not sure there’s a tight and direct causal effect between these activities and operating income. I’ll admit that it’s probably a good guess, but the direct quantitative evidence of this might need a bit of development.

As I’ve noted before, organizations deploying these types of software early are often on top of other streategic measures that other organizations lag behind on. So I certainly think there’s a correlation between the strategic and operational focus of an organization and their operating income growth, but that doesn’t mean that any of the individual components of the tactical deployments are directly related with that growth.

  • Oracle/PeopleSoft (Enterprise HCM) continues as the most used vendor solution of most respondents, except time and attendance where Kronos leads. In the next 12 months, however, PeopleSoft solutions will lead in all categories, indicating a pronounced move towards a single vendor, integrated solution for all HCM needs.  ((Ibid))

I’m not buying this one at all. While I haven’t personally been doing industry surveys, from what I’ve seen, PeopleSoft is in no position to really grow their market penetration. Perhaps the combination of Oracle/PeopleSoft, but I don’t see that happening either – especially in the time and attendance space.

The other issue with this is that I don’t buy that there is a general move to single vendor integrated solutions, and I’m fairly certain the guys representing talent management and talent acquisition solutions would agree with me. Total sales at the ERP’s for these modules has seemed to lag the point solutions (at least to me). The problem here is that Cedar defined their technologies as core HCM, benefits, payroll, timekeeping, and self service – obviously too narrow.

  • Over the years of publishing our survey white paper, we have watched early adopters improve organizational performance in successive ways. First, they achieved administrative excellence with their core HR record keeping systems, which are then upgraded to maintain best practices. Next, service delivery excellence is reached with self service, portals, call centers, and service centers. Today, more strategic applications such as talent management, eLearning, performance management, and compensation management are helping organizations acquire, develop, measure, and retain key talent.  ((Ibid))

I actually really liked this continuum of HR technology adoption and optimization. For once, I think someone else is spot on. What I’d be weary of is the assumption that a great many organizations are that on top of their service delivery strategies. I think in many organizations people are tackling service delivery at the same time as their talent strategies, and this is ok.

All in all, Cedar’s study is a great read (if you’re a masochist like me).

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2 responses to “Cedar Crestone HCM Survey 2006”

  1. Lexy Martin Avatar

    Thanks Systematic HR for highlighting some findings from our latest survey.
    To your first comment — yes, the applications are linked to operating income growth. Certainly other factors are at play, but there are statistical analyses possible now that show causal links and these applications are clearly among the factors contributing to operating income growth.
    To your second comment, Oracle/PeopleSoft is actually growing its market penetration with time and attendance and talent management, including recruiting solutions and performance management. And, among PeopleSoft customers there is a trend towards minimizing the number of vendors in play — particularly as PeopleSoft continues to enhance its product line (first with 8.9 and now with 9.0).
    For your third point — the continuum is what we have seen from the nine years of doing the survey. However, organizations that are just now getting more automated may actually be addressing BOTH service delivery and the strategic HCM applications at the same time. So, we’re both right.
    Finally — to you and your readers — we are now CedarCrestone, not just Cedar. This is the merger of two organizations and we are now over 500 consultants providing services to the HR community.
    Lexy Martin

  2. systematicHR Avatar

    Thanks Lexy. Another one of the commentors here would seem to agree with you regarding the consolidation of vendor applications within an organization.

    As I noted in my post, I don’t have any real evidence regarding my opinions other than the observation at the few clients I get to visit every year. It’s great reading your surveys.